32 makeup looks inspired by the '90s for those seeking a trip down memory lane

We've rounded up 32 iconic makeup looks inspired by the '90s, to deliver a good dose of nostalgia...

Naomi Campbell, Halle Berry and Kate Moss pictured with '90s makeup looks/ in a purple template
(Image credit: Getty Images (L to R): Steve Eichner/ Vinnie Zuffante and Rose Hartman)

If we had to narrow it down to just one decade of makeup trends to wear over and over again, the nineties will always win out. So, from bright blue eyeshadow to brown lipstick and glass-like lip gloss, we've rounded up 32 makeup looks inspired by the '90s.

Never did we think we'd write the words "timeless" and "90s" in the same sentence, but if these constantly reemerging '90s beauty trends are anything to go by, the world just can't get enough of the decade that brought us frosted eyeshadow and bold lip liner. In fact, every year it feels like a retro look from the years that brought us Friends (and more specifically the Rachel Green haircut - one of Jennifer Aniston's best looks) makes a comeback. 

So, if you're seeking to recapture the grungy magic of the 1990s - or perhaps a look to pair alongside your favourite '90s fashion trends - we've selected 32 of the most iconic and wearable looks from the era...

32 of the most iconic makeup looks inspired by the '90s

The '90s was the decade that ushered in The Spice Girls and NSYNC, flared jeans, double-denim and of course a plethora of bold but also natural makeup looks that have both defined the period and endured.

You can spot the influence in all the years since and so, if you're looking for a way to revitalise your beauty regime, it doesn't hurt to take inspiration the nineties and we've found the perfect makeup moments to do just that.

1. Smokey eyeshadow

Gwyneth Paltrow with a smoky eyelook

(Image credit: Getty Images/Evan Agostini)

Smoky eyeshadow is at truly timeless look that we can thank the '90s for making mainstream. As shown on Gwyneth Paltrow, it's flattering and adds a touch of sultriness to your look. Amongst all the makeup offerings in the lineup, the smoky eye is by far the easiest to work into your everyday repertoire as you can go as heavy or as subtle as you like. 

2. Bare skin and a bold lip

Winona Ryder wearing a red lip

(Image credit: Getty Images/Barry King/WireImage)

Bare-skin and a red lip is a timeless pairing that was especially popular in the nineties, as actress Winona Ryder proves. This combination is simple but sophisticated and is the perfect way to elevate your everyday look, especially when taking your makeup from day to night.

3. Frosted eyeshadow

Kate Moss with a frosted eyeshadow 90s makeup look

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Dave Benett)

Frosted eyeshadow is a quintessentially '90s trend and is perfect for a glamorous nighttime or event look. As model Kate Moss demonstrates, you can opt for either a cool-toned blue or a silver to capture that frosted effect. For a very decade-accurate feel, be sure to blend your eyeshadow up to your brow bone, for that diffused and smoky look and pair it with a glossy lip.

4. Blue eyeshadow

Angelina Jolie with blue eyeshadow

(Image credit: Getty Images/Kostas Alexander/Fotos International)

Ah, blue eyeshadow. Love it or hate it but it's undeniably '90s and is a look we've seen make numerous comebacks, especially during the 2000s. Regardless of your makeup preferences, there's always room for a pop of blue eyeshadow, whether you pair it with more natural, glowy skin or with an equally standout lip.

5. Matte orange-toned red lipstick

Claudia Schiffer with red lipstick and a smokey eyeshadow look

(Image credit: Getty Images/Stephane Cardinale/Sygma )

There's a reason why most of our makeup bags feature at least one of the best red lipsticks. It's a true signature that can always be relied upon for providing a chic and mature effect - and is one of those bold lipstick looks that never goes out of style.

6. Brown lip liner

Victoria Beckham with brown lipliner and gloss

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Tim Roney)

Brown lip liner with a hint of gloss was another popular look throughout the decade, worn by the likes of Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell and JLo. This trend of outlining your lips with a darker liner before overlaying with a gloss or nude lipstick is still a staple look for many.

7. Bare skin and skinny brows

Courteney Cox with minimal makeup

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection)

Compared to the statement looks of the '80s, the nineties saw a shift to more natural makeup, with celebs like Courtney Cox often wearing just a burgundy or nude lipstick, while keeping their skin more or less bare. 

8. Burgundy lipstick

JLo wearing burgundy lipstick

(Image credit: Getty Images/Vinnie Zuffante)

Much like how dark red nails never go out of style, burgundy lipstick is another timeless look that was especially popular in the '90s. Here we can see Jennifer Lopez pairing a satin-like dark red lip with a grey smoky eye - which is definitely a very wearable combination today.

9. Smudgy underliner

Princess Diana pictured with smoky eyeliner

(Image credit: Getty Images/Tim Graham Photo Library)

Black eyeliner was a key player in the '90s, especially more effortless, smudgy eyeliner. This eye moment, as Princess Diana models, is perfect for a stylish evening look and can be as bold or as understated as you prefer. 

10. Brown lipstick and blush

Jennifer Aniston with soft brown lipstick and blush

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Vinnie Zuffante)

There was a real softness and 'lived-in' feel to '90s makeup. As we can see from this Jennifer Aniston look, warm-toned, matte lipsticks and powder blushers were the go-to, which when paired together, create a subtle and cohesive look.

11. Bold lip liner with nude lipstick

Pamela Anderson with nude lipstick and liner

(Image credit: Getty Images/Vinnie Zuffante)

Nude lipstick with a slightly dark liner was also a staple in the '90s as shown by Pamela Anderson, who paired the matte lip with skinny brows and black eyeliner. It really doesn't get more '90s than that makeup trio!

12. Glossy Red lipstick

Liv Tyler pictured with red glossy lipstick

(Image credit: Getty Images/Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection)

As we know, red lipstick was an essential back then and so was adding a swipe of lip gloss. If you're already a lover of lipstick and are looking to elevate it or just add a pop of youthfulness, a clear or sparkly gloss is definitely the way to go.

13. Glassy lipgloss

JLo pictured with glowy skin and lip gloss

(Image credit: Getty Images/Vinnie Zuffante)

Speaking of lip gloss, it was everywhere during this time, so if you're looking to incorporate a subtle nod to the era in your look, a glassy gloss is the way to go. If you loathe the stickiness that often comes hand in hand with this style of lip product though, opt for one of the best lip oils instead - as they will offer a similar sheen, whilst simultaneously hydrating your lips.

14. Smokey eyeshadow and a red lip

Cindy Crawford with red lipstick and smoky eyeshadow

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Raoul/Images Press)

Name a more iconic duo than a red lip and smoky eye? We won't wait because you can't. This look may not have necessarily been born in the '90s but it might as well have been. If you're looking for a sophisticated, fail-safe makeup look, this is definitely it - especially if you opt for a blue-toned red like Cindy Crawford's.

15. Winged liner

Naomi Campbell with winged eyeliner

(Image credit: Getty Images/Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer)

When it comes to the best eyeliner looks, a wing is high up on the list thanks to it's versatility. You can either opt for a dramatic wing, like Naomi Campbell's or a thinner, more elongated line - ideal for everyday. 

16. Nude lipstick

Linda Evangelista with nude lipstick

(Image credit: Getty Images/Rose Hartman)

Matte skin with an equally subtle lip was another '90s go-to that can easily be adapted to your makeup regime. It's flawless, fresh and will perfectly compliment any wardrobe - no matter the occasion. However, be sure to invest in the best setting powders to replicate Linda Evangelista's diffused look.

17. Brown lip liner and gloss

Naomi Campbell wearing brown lip liner and lip gloss

(Image credit: Getty Images/Dave Benett)

As mentioned, brown lipstick was very popular throughout the '90s and beyond but a brown liner and gloss is perhaps the most iconic look of the decade. Here we can see the '90s icon herself, Naomi Campbell pairing a glossy lip with a bright blue eyeshadow.

18. Feathered lashes

Tyra Banks with feathered lashes and white eyeliner

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection)

While natural makeup was a staple look, the lashes were the exception with feathered and spider-like eyelashes taking centre stage. Here we can see Tyra Banks pictured with perfectly voluminous lashes, paired with a pop of white eyeliner on her waterline. 

19. Diffused blush and bronzer

Kate Moss pictured wearing shiny lip gloss

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection)

While blush on the apples of the cheeks was popular, the '90s were more focused on bronzer under the cheekbone. These days we have contour products for carving out our jawlines but there's definitely a case to be made for diffused bronzer and blush, especially when summer rolls around. 

20. Underliner and gloss

Mariah Carey with black underliner and lip gloss

(Image credit: Getty Images/Victor Malafronte/Hulton Archive)

Another classic pairing brought to us by singer, Mariah Carey - underliner and lip gloss. These two elements are perfect for those who prefer more minimal makeup but still want to add an oomph to their look.

21. Long lashes and a red lip

Naomi Campbell with red gradient lipstick

(Image credit: Getty Images/Mick Hutson/Redferns)

A glossy red lip on its own is a classic, but once paired with larger-than-life lashes and smoky blue-grey eyeshadow, you have yourself one iconic '90s makeup look - as Naomi Campbell proves. 

22. Glittery lipgloss

Halle Berry pictured wearing sparkly lip gloss

(Image credit: Getty Images/Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection)

While we know clear lip-gloss was a go-to, an iridescent or glittery lip gloss was also a frequent addition to the red carpet. If you're looking for an easy way to transform your everyday look for a party or festive-occasion, a glittery or pearlescent lippie is a good way to go.

23. Copper eyeshadow

Keira Knightly with copper eyeshadow

(Image credit: Getty Images/Jeff Spicer)

This is a perfect example of how to adapt a '90s trend to your everyday look. Attending the Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards in 2018,  actress Keira Knightley paired a copper smoky eye with matte skin and a nude lip and it's just wonderfully nineties and so wearable. 

24. Almost no makeup

Cameron Diaz with nude lipstick

(Image credit: Getty Images/Barry King/WireImage)

We love this example of '90s no-makeup-makeup from Cameron Diaz, as she paired flawless skin with a shiny, nude lip and a hint of mascara. This is the epitome of a timeless look that's perfect for every day. 

25. Bold eyeshadow and lipstick

Angela Bassett pictured wearing bold lipstick and eyeshadow

(Image credit: Getty Images/James Devaney/WireImage)

The key to a bold eyeliner/eyeshadow look is often to balance it with an equally bold lip, to give your makeup cohesion. Here we can see Angela Bassett proving just how chic the combination can look. 

26. Diffused eyeshadow

JLo with blue diffused eyeshadow

(Image credit: Getty Images/Kevin.Mazur )

While blue, silver and grey were the go-to shades of the era, it was also the style to blend out your eyeshadows right up to the brow bone - which, if you're an eyeshadow novice, is a great method to start experimenting with.  JLo paired her diffused eyeshadow with a natural base and hint of lipstick and we just adore the effect.

27. Mauve lipstick

Drew Barrymore with mauve lipstick

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection)

Alongside red and burgundy lipsticks, cooler shades like Drew Barrymore's mauve lipstick were also very popular and are one of the easiest ways to add a hint of grungy '90s to your look.

28. Rosy cheeks

Lucy Liu wearing pink blush and lip gloss

(Image credit: Getty Images/Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

If you're a blush lover and want to borrow inspiration for the '90s, the preferred placement was the apples of the cheeks, as shown on Lucy Liu. A good trick is also to pair your blush with your lipstick, to tie the whole look together.

29. Matte skin and a glossy lip

Cher with matte skin and a glossy lip

(Image credit: Getty Images/Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive )

Of all the glossy lip iterations, this is perhaps one of the easiest ways to pull off the reflective lippie. Again, if you're not a fan of sticky glosses, opt for a lip oil or lip balm to recreate this look. 

30. Glittery Wet-look eyeshadow

Drew Barrymore pictured with glittery eyeshadow

(Image credit: Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.)

Wet-look eyeshadow was huge on the '90s runways and much like with the frosted trend, it makes a comeback often. You can easily recreate this glamorous and 'lived-in' look with a liquid eyeshadow or by applying a wet-look primer. 

31. Gleaming highlighter

Tyra Banks pictured with glowy skin

(Image credit: Getty Images/Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection)

If you asked us to pick one look from the '90s that still informs our makeup regime today, it would definitely be the glowy skin and highlighter. Though matte skin was a big trend, dewy, wet-like highlighter is also synonymous with the decade and is the perfect way to elevate your look, especially if you're a lover of more natural makeup. It's fresh, fun and easy to replicate - so win-win!

32. Silver eyeshadow and iridescent gloss

Jennifer Hudson with silver eyeshadow and lip gloss

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Dan MacMedan/WireImage)

And finally, we have the ultimate '90s pairing, frosted eyeshadow and an equally frosty lip gloss. Jennifer Hudson brought this particular combo back in 2009 and we have no doubt it will remerge on the red carpet again before long!

Naomi Jamieson
Beauty Writer

Naomi is a Beauty Writer from Woman&Home, where she covers everything from skincare to beauty trends, as well as reviewing products and sharing her personal shopping recommendations. She specialises in feature and e-commerce writing and has previously worked as a Lifestyle News Writer for My Imperfect Life magazine, where she used her savvy for TikTok trends to bring readers the latest beauty buzzwords, fashion movements and must-have products. During her time on this title, she also reviewed beauty and skincare products and was commissioned to design some illustrations for one of the team's relationship features.

Before that, Naomi also worked across both GoodTo and My Imperfect Life, whilst training for her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ, for which she earned a Distinction. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but leapt into the media world in 2021, after always having a passion for writing.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on the best perfumes and must-have beauty buys, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.